Alicia Kees, a senior in Earlham's Bonner Scholar service learning program, refined her ideas of teaching through a variety of experiences, most recently through her Bonner work at the Boys and Girls Club (BGC) and at Westview Elementary.
"I have learned so much," she says. "I learned how important it is to get to know a child and know where the child is coming from. What I really loved about the Boys and Girls Club is that I had the opportunity to get to know the kids while I taught them."
At Westview, Kees works as a classroom assistant.
"There's nothing I enjoy more than being able to help a child master a concept that they have been struggling with," she says. "To see their excitement when they first make the connection and realize, well that's a great joy."
The Bonner Scholar program is a four-year developmental leadership program for students with demonstrated financial need and a passion for service.
Kees sets a high bar for herself. In addition to the Bonner work, she was the junior varsity volleyball coach at Richmond High School, and she substitute teaches for the Richmond Community Schools.
"I take a lot of pride in what I do," she says. "I like the idea of having a challenge, and I don't make any excuses."
She began working at BGC as an indoor soccer coach and continued there as a summer camp counselor. This fall, Kees organized an after-school volleyball program.
"She quickly became a kid favorite," says Ryon Wheeler, Sports, Fitness and Recreation Director at the BGC. Wheeler says Kees goes above and beyond what is expected.
"I planned on Alicia not being able to come to our week of residential camp in the summer," he says. "How many people would volunteer to sleep outside on the ground in 90- to 100-degree weather? However, Alicia was more than willing and seemed to have a great time."
Wheeler says the kids quickly adopted Kees' positive attitude and willingness to learn.
"Kids would always want to do something different or learn new things to impress her," he says. At the end of the volleyball program, parent surveys were filled with compliments for Kees and her positive teaching and coaching style.